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Ray Bradbury and the Electrified Sword

How the great author got started

Ray Bradbury was a prolific writer who authored books in multiple genres. He was best known for his science fiction and fantasy works, including Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, but he also wrote memoir, children's stories, and a classic book on writing: Zen in the Art of Writing.

He got a start writing early in his life in an unexpected way.

Mr. Electrico

Bradbury remembers going to a carnival in 1932 with his uncle shortly before his uncle died. He walked into a sideshow featuring a performer named Mr. Electrico whose hair was standing straight up because of the electricity coursing through his body. From the crowd of awed children, Mr. Electrico selected Bradbury by tapping him with his electrified sword and commanding, "Live forever!"

While Bradbury was only twelve years old at the time, he took the command seriously. Even as a kid he knew that putting words on paper created a kind of immortality. Later in his life he verbalized the feeling:

“The thing that makes me happy is that I know that on Mars, two hundred years from now, my books are going to be read. They’ll be up on dead Mars with no atmosphere. And late at night, with a flashlight, some little boy is going to peek under the covers and read The Martian Chronicles on Mars.” - Ray Bradbury

Filled with purpose

When Mr. Electrico tapped him with his electrified sword, Bradbury felt he had been specially CHOSEN for a purpose and began a consistent, unrelenting writing habit soon after that experience.

"I have written every single day of my life since that day,"

Bradbury proclaimed.

When your motivation is lagging, think of that electrified sword touching you, filling you with high-voltage energy and purpose, and jolting you to a long and illustrious career.


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